Minimalist Homestead? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 11-05-2013, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,


I'm cross-posting here and in minimalist mamas . . .


I am curious if there other families with minimalist values that also homestead?  How do you reconcile your minimalism with all the stuff that goes along with storing seeds/garden tools, raising animals for wool/eggs/meat, sewing/spinning/knitting, baking bread from home ground flour, storing tools for home and bike repair, etc?


I am feeling like I want to take a sledge hammer to my kitchen even though I cannot afford to remodel, because there is no really easy place to ferment my sourdough, and water kefir other than on the counter top.  I have a very small amount of counter space and it is all underneath upper cupboards and cluttered with fermenting food, a dish rack, and my kitchenaid mixer.


Then there's the barn . . . .


Part of our issue is financial:  much less expensive to bake our own bread, brew our own water kefir,  repair a leaky pipe ourselves or tune up our bikes (which are a main transportation for self and kids).


Part of our issue is more subjective:  eating homemade bread is yummy, and I find great joy in raising wool sheep and processing the wool into knitted garments or felted gifts.


But all these things require the storage of "stuff" . . . or seem to . . . and I am getting overwhelmed!


Any experience/advice to share?

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#2 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 10:10 AM
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I'd love to hear from some more experienced homesteaders on this, too! I feel like every time we start doing something "homestead-y" the mess it entails overwhelms me. I enjoy having a simple home, but homesteading seems to take so much stuff to do it!

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#3 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 10:20 AM
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#4 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, maybe we just need to help each other if there are no sage words from those more experienced!

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#5 of 10 Old 11-10-2013, 11:29 AM
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As a minimalist myself living in a house literally overflowing with junk and stuff I'll say this: floor to ceiling shelves and ceiling hung fabric curtains. I can't stand the look of cluttered shelves (even if they are organised). All that stuff just drives me absolutely batty. I need calm, clean surfaces to be able to relax, and to work. At the same time, however, I can't get rid of all that stuff. So neatly organised shelves hidden behind curtains is my solution, and thinking outside the box when storing things. Perhaps you don't really need to store your fermenting things in the kitchen even though they are food? An unused wall in a hallway can easily be adapted with narrow shelving, hidden by a pretty curtain, to hold jars of fermenting cabbage, pickled squash and home made strawberry jam. 


Personally I think the most important thing is to get the clutter out of sight to begin with, then to organise everything so it has a hidden place where it belongs, away from working surfaces. Nothing should be permanently stored on your working surfaces except perhaps that kitchenaid if you use it everyday since it is a heavy machine to move around. Personally I would look into getting a rolling counter if there is space to create both more working space, but also more storing space, in the kitchen. Also, we use our dining table (which is in the kitchen) to prep things on. It is a lovely, big space to roll out doughs on and everything. Since it is our dining table we are forced to clean everything right up before dinner everyday, so that is great too.


Simply start thinking about what is the issue in any given space you have, be it that it is disorganised or just looks cluttered. Take it from there, one space at a time, making the space you have work for you. It sounds really cliché, I know, but that is the only way I know how to tackle these things and create calm, functional spaces with a lot of stuff

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#6 of 10 Old 11-21-2013, 06:48 PM
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I think you can keep it a priority to have a minimum amount of stuff, but that minimum is much higher on a sustainable homestead. Living minimally can require reliance on others to provide certain things with consistency and homesteading is somewhat in conflict with that. I think it does take a good deal of organization and space. But you can also be thoughtful about what parts you want to incorporate into your life and what parts you don't. A lot of people get burnt out trying to take on every part of "homesteading" all at the same time. But yes, storing and making your own food for the whole year takes a lot more kitchen space than if you are going to the store weekly.
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#7 of 10 Old 11-22-2013, 12:27 PM
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We are aspiring minimalists and homesteaders.  We are still trying the get rid of more stuff that is in our house.  We do have a lot of stuff in our kitchen because we cook from scratch and there is a lot of value to having the right tool for the job.  As for the barn, the same applies.  We can work more effectively and have more leisure time if we have the right tools so our barn is pretty full.  For us, minimalism is more of an attitude.  We try not to buy/have things we don't need and that will not improve our life.  

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#8 of 10 Old 02-28-2014, 07:00 PM
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I know this is an old thread but wanted to put my 2 cents in. I am struggling with this as well. I am an aspiring homesteader in suburbia with limited space. I am constantly decluttereing but I have a hard time getting rid of things that could come in handy or be repurposed later on. I am trying to see my things in a new light. What I own has to be useful or beautiful. If it is not I am getting rid of it unless I have a particular project in mind. I am also trying to get rid of my dust collectors since I already have so much to do dusting those knick knacks is one less thing. Good luck!
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#9 of 10 Old 03-08-2014, 10:03 AM
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I have multiple "sneaky" hiding places.  I have an ottoman that stores things, a trunk in my bedroom for extra storage, my tv stand holds a few things, we have baskets on top of our cupboards that hold some things, a tin bucket on the fridge that holds more things and a buffet behind our table that holds even more.  I keep my ferments either in a bookshelf in my laundry room or on my counter.  My sourdough stays on the counter as I need to see it to remember to feed it.  Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, etc go in the bookshelf, water kefir goes next to the water jug across the kitchen because it is more out of the way but still there to remind me to mess with it.

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#10 of 10 Old 03-08-2014, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I was just dreaming of a shelf in the laundry/back entry room. I think I could fit one in above the washer and dryer to keep my ferments.
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